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LAO to increase funding to community legal clinics

Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2015


Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) announces further details about funding to community legal clinics, following the provincial governments announcement on new financial eligibility guidelines for legal aid this past October. As a result of the new provincial investment, LAO has developed a clinic law services expansion strategy that, when fully implemented, will inject approximately $10 million into community legal clinics and Student Legal Aid Services Societies.

LAOs legal clinic service expansion strategy beginning March 2015 ($4.2 million)

  • $2.4 million in additional annual funding to some communities that have fewer legal clinic resources to meet the needs of their low income populations.
  • $1.2 million in additional annual funding for specialty clinics to expand test case work, systemic advocacy, client representation and to offer new services, potentially including employment law.
  • $0.6 million in additional annual funding for the provinces Francophone and ethno-linguistic clinics to improve client services and access to justice.

LAOs legal clinic service expansion strategy for 2015/16 fiscal year

  • Additional annual funding to communities/general service clinics, specialty clinics, Francophone and ethno-linguistic clinics that have fewer resources to help their low-income clients.
  • New funding to support clinics working together to expand client services at the local, regional or provincial level.
  • New funding for Student Legal Aid Services Societies.

LAO is also considering how to further expand coverage for its certificate program and other private bar services in criminal, family, refugee and mental health law, later in 2015. LAO began providing more services in these areas on Nov. 1, 2014, following the first increase in legal aid financial eligibility. LAO will begin consultations with stakeholders to identify service priorities and options for addressing client needs.

LAOs service expansion strategy supports the provincial governments poverty reduction and justice system strategies.

Quotes

Im proud of this investment, which will eventually double the number of people eligible for this vital service. Our legal aid system has helped many vulnerable citizens so far and we are taking the next steps to ensure low income Ontarians have access to the legal services they need. I would like to thank our partner LAO as we work together to continue to implement this plan.

— Madeleine Meilleur, Attorney General of Ontario

"Community legal clinics play an essential role in delivering legal aid in our province. The grassroots work clinics do make them key players in the communities they serve. The poverty law services they offer help low-income Ontarians solve their social assistance, housing and other civil law issues.

— John McCamus, Chair, Legal Aid Ontario

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Questions

Genevieve Oger
Bilingual senior communications media relations officer
Legal Aid Ontario
Phone: (416) 979-2352, ext. 5208
Cell: (416) 768-4461
Email: ogerg@lao.on.ca or media@lao.on.ca